The Common Ingroup Identity Model and the Development of a Functional Perspective: A Cross-National Collaboration

  • Sam GaertnerEmail author
  • Rita Guerra
  • Margarida Rebelo
  • John Dovidio
  • Erick Hehman
  • Mathew Deegan


This chapter proposes a new, functional approach to the understanding of how effectively prejudice can be reduced among members of majority and minority groups. According to the functional perspective, derived from the Common Ingroup Identity Model, groups prefer and adopt the representation that most effectively promotes their group’s goals. Majority groups generally prefer a one-group representation (e.g., we are all on the same team) because it deflects attention away from disparities between groups and reduces subgroup identification, thereby reducing the likelihood of collective action that challenges the status quo. By contrast, minority groups prefer a dual identity (e.g., we are minority and majority group members on the same team) because it recognizes group distinctiveness, drawing attention to group disparities, which can motivate both majority and minority group members to mobilize to address injustices. However, contradicting these findings, results obtained in the US and in Portugal required and inspired the development of the functional approach presented in this chapter. It emphasizes the importance of taking into account the larger social and historical context when considering the groups’ interests as causing and motivating group members’ preferences for one-group or dual identity representations, and that these preferences of majorities and minorities are more flexible than we previously thought.


Common ingroup identity Dual identity Functional approach of intergroup relations Ethnic minorities Ethnic majorities 



Preparation of this chapter was supported by NSF Grant # BCS-0613218 awarded to Samuel L. Gaertner and John F. Dovidio.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam Gaertner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rita Guerra
    • 2
  • Margarida Rebelo
    • 3
  • John Dovidio
    • 4
  • Erick Hehman
    • 5
  • Mathew Deegan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIS-IULLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.National Laboratory of Civil Engineering (LNEC)LisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  5. 5.Dartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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